I’ve been medicinally treated for manic depression for the past six years, starting when I was thirteen, just after the truth came out about my multiple suicide attempts. As I progress in life, I keep realizing more and more people do not understand this psychological disorder. I’m here to clear things up.
1) “Why don’t you just…get over it?” We can’t. Usually when someone with manic depression is suffering it is impossible to pinpoint the reason. There’s no way to describe why we feel sad if we don’t know ourselves, and odds are, we have no clue either.
2) “You don’t seem depressed to me.” Yeah, that’s because people who suffer from depression are usually the best at faking it. Most comedians suffer from manic depression and the funniest people you know probably have it too. Just because we can paint a smile on our face, make you laugh, or seem engaging and pleasant doesn’t mean we feel that way on the inside.
3) “Did you just…lay here all day?” Sometimes that’s all we can do. Honestly, today I went to a job interview and got the job. Then I came home and put on an oversized t-shirt and slept for 3 hours, because that job interview took everything out of me. Some days, we just do what we have to because anything else is overwhelming. Some days, we can’t even do what we are supposed to. I’ve gone several days at a time without showering or eating because it was too much.
4) “You’re just a cry baby.” This is probably the most hurtful thing you can say to someone who suffers from manic depression. Implying that it’s all just personal weakness is exactly the thing we are most afraid of. 90% of my depression stems from self-doubt or feelings of worthlessness. What does that mean? That means that a lot of the time I really don’t like myself or don’t feel like I’m good enough. We feel like we don’t deserve anything, hence suicide. By telling me (or anyone with depression) “you’re just being dramatic,” you feed my worst thoughts.
5) “Just get out and do something.” I am a huge extrovert, I really am. I love people, I love groups of people, I love attention from people, the whole shabang. But sometimes, especially if I’m sad, it is all I can do to go outside and get the mail because then my neighbor might talk to me. Especially living in a small town where I’m well known, at these times I just want to hide from the world completely. At best I’ll go out of town, where I’m less likely to be noticed, and go to the movies halfheartedly. I mean I may end up crying in the bathroom but that’s the best I can do. Getting out and exploring life can definitely be a solution of bouts of sadness but it can also be like sandpaper on a wound.
If you have depression, I hope you relate. If you have family or friends who suffer from manic depression I hope I have helped you understand a little bit more as to what it’s like. The things quoted above are actual things that my close friends and family have said to me, phrases that were insensitive, harsh, and ignorant. I hope I’ve helped you understand yourself or your loved one a little better.
All for now.